GERON LICENSES NUCLEAR TRANSFER TECHNOLOGY TO REVIVICOR, INC.
Menlo Park, CA - November 16, 2004 -- Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN) announced today that it has entered into two non-exclusive license agreements with Revivicor, Inc., under which Revivicor is granted rights to use Geron's nuclear transfer technology for animal cloning. The first license grants Revivicor the right to use the technology to produce animal organs and tissues for xenotransplantation. Xenotransplantion, which involves the use of animal organs and tissues for transplant into humans, offers the potential to address critical shortages of donated human tissues and fulfill currently unmet clinical needs. The second license grants Revivicor the right to use the technology to produce human proteins from the blood of animals for pharmaceutical uses, such as polyclonal antibodies for vaccine use.
In consideration for the licenses, Geron will receive an equity interest in Revivicor. Geron will also receive a royalty on Revivicor's future revenues.
Revivicor, Inc., a development-stage biotechnology company with facilities in Virginia and Pennsylvania, is working to produce genetically modified pigs from which cells, tissues and organs can be used for transplantation into humans. The genetic modifications are designed to reduce or eliminate transplant rejection problems. Revivicor is currently studying transgenic pigs in which both copies of a key transplant rejection gene - the alpha 1,3 gal gene - have been knocked out. It will now apply Geron's nuclear transfer technology to produce second generation animals having other genetic modifications that are aimed at further reducing the risk of transplant rejection. Revivicor has already commenced pre-clinical trials to test the use of xenograft hearts, kidneys and islets, in collaboration with its partners at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the London Health Sciences Center in Canada. In addition, Revivicor will use the nuclear transfer technology to produce fully-human polyclonal antibodies in the blood of genetically modified pigs. These antibodies may be used for the treatment of infectious agents, including antibiotic resistant bacteria, viruses, potential biowarfare pathogens, and for clearance of toxins.
"These licenses represent an important milestone in the implementation of Revivicor's business strategy," said Dr. David Ayares, Ph.D., Revivicor's chief executive officer. "The combination of Geron's cloning technology and Revivicor's expertise in producing genetically modified animals in the xenotransplant area will enable us to more rapidly develop organs and tissues useful for transplant treatments for the cure of intractable human diseases, such as islets for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes. In addition, the license to Geron's nuclear transfer technology for the expression of human proteins in animal blood will permit Revivicor to develop therapies against a variety of infectious diseases that currently have no effective treatment."
"Geron has granted a number of licenses for this technology to companies that are positioned to be leaders in their fields," stated David J. Earp, Ph.D., J.D., Geron's chief patent counsel and senior vice president of business development. "We are pleased that these licenses to our technology will help enable Revivicor's product development and commercialization plans."
Geron is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing therapeutic and diagnostic products for cancer based on its telomerase technology, and cell-based therapeutics using its human embryonic stem cell technology.
This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements in this press release regarding future applications of Geron's nuclear transfer technology constitute forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and commercialization of potential products, reliance on collaborators, need for regulatory approvals or clearances, and the maintenance of our intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Additional information on potential factors that could affect our results and other risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in Geron's periodic reports, including the quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2004.
David L. Greenwood
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Executive Officer